The year 2010 saw an interesting array of films that drew a clear line in the sand between awesome and awful. With remakes and sequels abound, some fared better than others (Kick-Ass, Inception, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood). While the majority wasted film and the audience’s valuable time (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The A-Team, A Nightmare on Elm Street). The end of one year may be seen as a joyous occasion when films like Legion and Johan Hex are largely disappointments. With films like Thor, Paul, and The Eagle coming to theaters in 2011, the new year seems promising in concerns to film. After all that is what the new year is about, fresh starts.
The ushering in of a new year may be about starting over but the past has a mighty pull when it comes to film. It is difficult to forget about the movies that shaped you childhood or stirred a passion within you. It is movies such as these that prove that regardless of the year, some films should be embraced despite the times. While many New Years films are about the happily ever after or the epic disaster, three highly respectable films have used New Years as an important tool to set up scenes that have now become legend. These three films are Ghostbusters II, The Godfather II, and The Shining.
So, put on a silly hat, grab a kazoo, and crack open the alcohol. These are three movies that help show the importance that New Years has served in film.
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Taking place five years after the Ghostbusters team saved New York City from a supernatural evil, the group is now out of business due to lawsuits from the event. With the discovery of a river of ectoplasm under the city of New York, the Ghostbusters are soon back in business as Peter Venkman’s ex-girlfriend’s infant son is stolen to be the new host of a malevolent tyrant.
Ghostbusters 2 was a commercially successful sequel. Despite this, many hardcore fans of the original Ghostbusters film considered the sequel to be a disappointment. For many critics, they share the same complaints. While some believe that the script was bland and others thought that the film strained for laughs, Ghostbusters II is still considered a great film by those who would rather be entertained then complain. Most of this entertainment comes from the second half of the film. As the film counts down the days toward New Years, the ghostly encounters soon come to a climax on the eve of the new year.
Some may consider that the main villain of Ghostbusters II, Vigo would be no match for the killer hell hounds of the first Ghostbusters. It may be difficult to find a man who jumps out of a painting to be frightening but scares are not the point of the film. Call it nostalgia or purely love for the entire cast and concept of the film but it is difficult to dislike a sequel that one has grown up on. Even after twenty-one years, many of the films elements are still very relevant, Bill Murray is still a wonderful comedian and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man will always be one of the most delicious and evil movie monster ever.
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
“I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!” -Michael Corleone
The Godfather: Part II explores the beginning and the continuation of the organized crime syndicate, the Corleone family. While exploring the families roots, the film focuses on Vito Corleone’s voyage from Sicily to New York and the building of his empire. Vito’s grown son, Michael is then shown expanding the family’s business from Nevada to Cuba, while having to deal with disloyalty and murder.
While considered one of the best movies ever made (which is a very small club to belong to), The Godfather: Part II does what only a handful of sequels have been able to accomplish. It has successfully carried the story from the first film into the second and faithfully expanding upon it. The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II have come to symbolize the zenith of film making from America. Seen as the finest of crime family dramas, The Godfather saga is more about those involved with or family members of the Corleone’s, then about crime. One of the best examples of this takes place during the peak of their success, the Corleone family is celebrating New Year’s Eve in Havana. After confirming Michael’s worst fears, his brother Fredo accidently proves that he is the traitor in the family. In one of the cinema’s most iconic scenes, Michael embraces Fredo while mournfully uttering one of the most well known quotes in the mobster film genre, “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.” Drawing, Fredo to him, Michael gives him the notorious kiss of death.
The Shining (1980)
“Great party, isn’t it?” -Injured Guest
Jack Torrance, an out of work writer, takes a job as a winter caretaker of an isolated hotel. Bringing his wife and son, Jack slowly slips into insanity as the hands of an evil presents and the former guests of the hotel. Using his telepathic gift, known as the shining, Jack’s son sees visions of past and future murders in the hotel. It is this gift that may help save his mother and himself.
The Shining takes place during the majority of the winter season. The film does not give specific dates and does not show the celebrating of holidays. The only time during the film where the viewer is given some idea of when the movie is taking place occurs during Jack’s stroll into the Gold Room. After having been driven to madness, it does not seem odd to him that a New Year’s Eve masquerade ball is taking place with ghosts that were former guests of the hotel. This is an important scene because Jack is convinced by a waiter that he needs to “correct” his family. It is after this conversation that Jack will go on to try to kill his wife and child.
The Shining is a brilliant movie. It is one of the very few movies that have been adapted from a Steven King book successfully. It is filled with quotable lines and scenes that have been paid tribute to in many other movies, television shows, and cartoons. The Shining also stars a wonderful cast. The most notable is, of course Jack Nicholson. Nicholson has the ability to show a wide array of emotions with facial expressions. His best by far, is insanity. It is this insane expression and manic laugh that help define The Shining.
54 (1998) *200 Cigarettes (1999)*2012 (2009)*Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)*Bloody New Year(1987)*Boogie Nights (1997)*Cloverfield (2007)*End of Days (1999)*Entrapment (1999)*Gridlock’d (1997)*Jaws: The Revenge (1987)*Ocean’s Eleven (2001)*Money Train (1995)*New Year’s Day (2001)*New Year’s Evil(1980)*Night of the Comet (1984)*Strange Days (1995)*Terror Train (1980)*The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)*The Poseidon Adventure (1972)*The Signal (2007)*Trading Places (1983)
Honorable Classic Mentions:
An American in Paris (1951)*Holiday (1938)*Holiday Inn (1942)*New Year Sacrifice (1956)*Sunset Boulevard (1950)*The Apartment (1960)*The Gold Rush (1925)
Happy New Year!
Side Note: Yes, I purposely left out Bridget Jones’s Dairy, Sex and the City, and When Harry Met Sally. Considering these titles, I believe no explanation is necessary. Other such romcoms and romantic films will always be excluded regardless of topic.